Thursday, January 19, 2012
Cause and Effect
For 30 years, cities in California have used redevelopment agencies to appropriate the schools’ portion of tax local property taxes to themselves (“Supreme Court decision dooms redevelopment agencies, leaves cities reeling,” Jan. 12-18). In Monterey, over $5 million of local property taxes are diverted to its RDA each year! The assumption was that it was the state’s role to backfill Monterey Peninsula Unified. And when the state couldn’t do this anymore (another 399 cities had figured out the same thing), the kids ended up paying for redevelopment. In Seaside, over $8 million a year has been diverted. Marina got onto the merry-go-round late, after the state stopped the worst of the abuse of school funding, but it too expects the state to pay to educate its kids.
Sure the cities are screaming – their magic money has been taken away – but as long as the schools get minimal local property taxes from “blighted” areas, we’ll have blighted schools. For more perspective, see the Legislative Analyst’s Office report of January 2011. - CaliforniaMom | via Web
There was one vital piece of information missing from your article on redevelopment agencies: Exactly how many (local, state and federal) taxpayer dollars have been frittered away on Marina’s three no-progress projects and the others mentioned?
Just what part of “the well is dry” don’t these bureaucrats understand? - Andrew Allison | Carmel
The Coming GMO Battle
Thanks for the great article about the need to label genetically engineered foods (“Initiative on GMO labeling could change how we eat,” Jan. 5-11). We have a right to know what is in our food! Hundreds of volunteers across the state have joined forces to get the Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Initiative on the 2012 ballot. There is a local chapter here in Monterey County that needs residents to join the cause. Currently, volunteers are being trained to gather signatures: Actual signature gathering starts mid-February. The more volunteers we have, the greater success of getting the initiative on the ballot. To volunteer, donate or to get more information contact Colleen at email@example.com. You’ll also find us on Facebook. Or check out www.labelgmos.org which has all the information about the need for labeling. - Cynthia Ainsworth | Salinas
The supervisors are attempting to remove the cap on Cal Am credit to pay the complacent consultant, RMC, in the defunct Marina desal project (“Supes stall on RMC payment,” posted Jan. 11). This is wrong. RMC should be fined rather than rewarded, as they gave a faulty assessment. Judge Lydia Villarreal ruled that only a public agency, not the PUC or Cal-Am, could order an EIR even though it was brought to their attention repeatedly, particularly by me. Paying RMC is unfair and illegal. RMC should not receive any more money. In fact, they should refund all the monies they have received to date for their faulty assessment and complicity in the conflict of interest with Steve Collins and his already eliminated partner, Curtis Weeks; this is in addition to the secrecy and surrounding shenanigans. It will be foolish for the supervisors to add more fuel and illegalities to the fire. In my opinion, it is time for David Potter, who is largely responsible for the debacle, to completely remove himself from the scene so someone else could act objectively, honestly and in the best interest of the ratepayers. - Nader Agha | Carmel
Glad to see people working hard to come up with solutions (“Peninsula mayors propose new water authority,” posted Jan. 7). Sure hope there will be equitable representation for ALL the ratepayers including those outside of the incorporated cities in whatever the proposal for better governance turns out to be… seems to me everyone involved should have a fair say in what happens, besides which the Carmel River itself is in the unincorporated county. - Martha Diehl | via Facebook
Speaking of Nader
Your story on the accomplishments of one of the leading entrepreneurs of the Monterey Peninsula, Nader Agha, an immigrant to the USA, is an example of the American Dream (“Nader Agha’s holdings span Monterey County, but he’s looking to conquer the world,” Dec. 15-21). He has utilized his business skills in accomplishing many projects as evident by his business enterprises.
His keen, alert mind is always working to accomplish the most from his investment. He is proud of his community and his sense of concern for its citizens is well displayed.
His personal fortune has been well earned but he is also concerned with the total community in which he lives and works. He has made many contributions to charitable organizations. - Al Giardano, Ph.D. | Carmel
Please look at page 39, the Young Goethe in Love synopsis. Very badly written. (“Movie briefs,” Jan. 5-11.) “Who just failed out,” that’s wrong. “… is a poet who failed his law exam and is sent to reform court where he falls for a beautiful young woman who is about to be married,” would be appropriate, as opposed to “to be married off.” This is the problem with the American degradation of the language is they put in extra words that destroy the language. So work on it, please. - Anonymous | via Voicemail
(Editor’s note: It’s actually pronounced “guh-teh,” not “gawth.”)
Duck and Cover
I’m questioning your cover this week (“Mayan theories and astronomy conspiracies abound, making the upcoming year – if it lasts – one for the paranoid records,” Jan. 5-11).
A lot of us had a terrible 2011, whether it was financially or interpersonally or both. The Nightly Business Report said many of us would like to put that year in the rear-view mirror, so brilliant that you would start us off hopeful on the New Year with “Welcome to the End of the World.”
You know, the young have a fascination with death and destruction; that’s why skulls appear on so much stuff that they own. But when you get to be middle-age, that’s not funny, because you know there are fewer days ahead than behind and you want to make them count.
I think this was a really bad choice. It could have been tongue-in-cheek of you. I don’t know. I haven’t read the article. By why do that to us? A lot of us are trying to move ahead and be hopeful and then you go ahead and stick that on the cover. - Wendy | via Voicemail
(Editor’s note: Wendy had us right until the part where she said she hadn’t read the article.)